State awards repair of two ferries to Ketchikan and Seward shipyards

the M/V Hubbard and M/V Tustumena will achieve capital improvements in 2022 with awards given to two Alaskan shipyards.

the M/V Hubbard, one of two ‘Alaska class’ ferries, will have crew quarters added to enable it to make longer trips, reach more ports and thereby increase system-wide flexibility and the redundancy necessary for reliability. The work was awarded to Vigor at the Ketchikan shipyard on Thursday.

The ship was originally built for the Upper Lynn Canal for day trips not requiring crew quarters, but when former Governor Bill Walker killed the Juneau Access project the ship was hijacked to other routes, and now the state needs it for night trips.

The $15 million project will modify the ferry to build eight one-person cabins on the bridge deck and eight two-person cabins on the upper deck. Additional works include the installation of a galley, scullery and mess areas on the upper deck; a new fan room on the bridge deck; and the extension of the existing port stair tower to the bridge deck to serve the new accommodation. The addition of overnight quarters for the crew significantly increases the cost of operating the ferry.

“We need our vessels to be flexible and able to provide the redundancy needed for system-wide reliability. Our fleet is aging and we need vessels that can be Swiss army knives capable of serving as many of our coastal communities as possible,” said DOT Deputy Commissioner Rob Carpenter. “These projects, as well as the Tustumena Replacement vessel, are part of our fleet modernization efforts. By reinvesting in our marine highway, we ensure the economic viability of our coastal communities; connecting them to each other and to the rest of Alaska’s transportation system.

The $9.4 million Tustumena upgrades were assigned to JAG at Seward Naval Dockyard on 28 December. This work will help extend the life of the vessel until the replacement vessel can be commissioned in approximately five to six years. Upgrades include refurbishment of main vehicle lift, new exterior hull liners – steel piping replacements including black and gray water drains, bilge and ballast systems; ballast piping and valves; LED lighting upgrades and promenade deck upgrades.

the M/V Hubbard was the second Alaska Marine Highway ferry built in Alaska in 2018, along with sister ship the M/V Tazlina. It is 280 feet long and can accommodate up to 300 passengers and 53 vehicles.

the M/V Tustumena is one of the oldest ships in the AMHS fleet, built in 1964. It is 296 feet long and has the capacity to carry up to 160 passengers and 34 vehicles. It is one of only two ocean class ferries certified and the only ship capable of servicing all 13 ports of call between Homer and Unalaska.

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